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Review falsifies history

By Ulli Diemer


Letter to the Editor, The Toronto Star:

In his review of Mel Hurtig's new book The Betrayal of Canada (November 2), R. T. Naylor perpetuates the myth that a majority of Canadians voted in favour of free trade in the 1988 election. Naylor claims that "there actually was a vigorous national debate and the free trade agreement won."

Naylor is falsifying history. In fact, 55 per cent of the electorate voted against free trade in what Naylor himself characterizes as a "referendum-cum-election."

It is only because Canada's electoral system is profoundly undemocratic that it was possible for the Mulroney Tories to form a majority government with only 43 per cent of the votes. They then used that majority to force through the free trade deal even though a majority of the electorate had voted against it.

Naylor adds insult to injury when he goes on to say that "people in liberal democracies ultimately get the governments (and therefore the government policies) they deserve." In this liberal democracy, a clear majority of the people voted against the government and its free trade deal, only to get them anyway, thanks to an undemocratic electoral system.


Ulli Diemer
November 3, 1991
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